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Indonesian-style Grilled Eggplant with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Indonesian-style Grilled Eggplant with Spicy Peanut Sauce

We had a bit of an eggplant fiasco a few weeks ago. Tried a new recipe that seemed promising, and it was the first time (ever?) that we’ve cooked something so bad that neither of us could eat it. Usually, when something isn’t great it’s just that, not great. But still edible at least. This, however, was not edible.

So the following week we decided that we needed some eggplant redemption. We needed to show that eggplant could be delicious (which we know it can) so we wouldn’t have that last bad taste to remember it by. And then we found this recipe.

While I do have to say that Taylor makes the best peanut sauce this side of Thailand, this sauce is a tough contender. I think it’s the fresh ground peanuts, instead of peanut butter, that put it over the top.

And don’t think you can save yourself some time by skipping the first step. Salting the eggplant is CRITICAL is it draws out the moisture aka bitterness in it. I think that is where the eggplant mess began, as that recipe didn’t seem to care that eggplant can be bitter as heck. So please, salt your eggplant, and let it hang out for a bit. You won’t regret it later.

Indonesian-style Grilled Eggplant with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Makes 4 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.

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1 eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced
a 2-inch-long fresh hot red chili, chopped fine (wear rubber gloves), or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons Oriental sesame oil
1/4 cup ground roasted peanuts
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
vegetable oil for brushing the eggplant


Sprinkle the eggplant lightly with salt, let it drain in a colander for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then pat it dry.

In a small saucepan cook the garlic, the shallot, and the chili in the sesame oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, add the peanuts, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, the sugar, the lemon juice, and 1 cup water, boil the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it is thickened slightly, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Brush the eggplant, patted dry, with the vegetable oil and grill it on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals, turning it, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until it is just cooked. Transfer the eggplant to a serving plate and spoon the peanut sauce over it. Serve with some fresh homemade pita, and enjoy.

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  1. yummyy! I use to have grilled eggplants for my sandwich or making balado (Western Sumatran chili and tangy sambal).

    You might also want to try this recipe

  2. Roasted eggplant with spicy peanut butter sauce sounds nice and simple and yet so good!

  3. I love eggplant, and I LOVE peanuts. I must try this. You’re right, by the way, about always draining your eggplant. It’s a step that must not be skipped!

  4. So elegant. Beautiful way to enjoy eggplant.

  5. ohh that spicy peanut sauce sounds lovely! and i love eggplant!

  6. Hi Lindsay and Taylor!
    I Love your site! I’m passing on the Brilliante Weblog award!! :)

  7. This recipe looks GREAT! But I disagree about sweating the eggplant – it’s outdated because modern eggplant varieties are really not bitter. I’ve never had a bitter eggplant.

    • That certainly is t rue for Asian eggplants as they’re naturally sweeter. That’s why I use them whenever possible even when the recipe calls for the more popular kind. Did not know that the more generic eggplants are now engineered to be sweet all year long. However, the salting serves another purpose besides bitterness. It helps when frying. By salting the eggplants it prevents it from soaking up so much oil when frying them, which is the more common way when cooking eggplant. It’s always been a big turn off for me about frying eggplants. So much oil is needed to fry these babies. So many calories. Salting minimizes the usage of all that oil. . Obviously it would not apply to grilling but for future use when cooking eggplants, although I try to bake my eggplants whenever possible which is what I will be doing with this recipe. Grilling, I find dries foods out. I have more control over it when it’s being baked.

  8. I love eggplant served this way and am always looking for new sauces to try it with. Your spicy peanut sounds great!

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